Contact: Tony Bell, Communications Deputy
Office: (213) 974-5555 Cell: (213) 215-5176
June 10, 2013
For Immediate Release
USC/L.A. TIMES POLL PROVIDES FLAWED ASSESSMENT OF PUBLIC SENTIMENT ON PRISONER REALIGNMENT
LOS ANGELES COUNTY – Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich dismissed the findings of USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll inferring that seventy-four percent of California voters favored keeping offenders in county custody instead of sending them to state prisons. “This is a ‘push poll’ that seeks to manipulate public opinion rather than measure it,” he said.
The information provided to the respondent by the pollster failed to mention that over 6,000 of the 11,122 offenders under probation’s supervision per realignment have been re-arrested and that over 4,000 of those arrests were for new offenses now pending decision by the District Attorney. It also neglects to include the fact that many “low-level” criminals are classified only by their latest crime – not their most grievous. Further, it failed to mention that if California sent convicted criminals to other states to serve their sentences at much-reduced costs, crime rates would fall as “low-level” criminals tend to escalate their crimes.
It also uses convoluted statements that require respondents to acknowledge one premise in stark opposition to the conclusion. For example, forty-three percent of respondents had to acknowledge that county jails are full and that dangerous criminals were being released so they could “agree with Governor Brown that California has already addressed the prison overcrowding problem by reducing the inmate population by 43,000, improved jail conditions, and that many low-level nonviolent offenders are already being housed in county jails rather than state prisons.”
Most importantly, it failed to include the shocking reality of realignment – increased crime statewide. In Los Angeles County, a quadruple murder in Northridge last fall, a woman set on fire on a bus stop bench in Van Nuys and a 10-year-old Northridge girl kidnapped and sexually assaulted in March are a few examples of the public safety crisis created by realignment.
“The Governor and other realignment advocates ignore the crime statistics and human toll and doggedly defend pseudo cost-savings associated with shifting these major programs to local governments,” Antonovich added. “The fact is that true cost-savings lies with contracting for detention space — which the Governor has ruled out for political reasons –and keeping crime rates low by having criminals serve their full sentences.”
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